Occasionally, there are films that come along that change the way the film industry and audiences see things. For better or worse, they exist and "The Matrix" happens to be one of them. Although perhaps not all that original when broken down into its parts, its how the parts are sewn together that makes this film such a riot to watch. Combining smarts and pure sleek action sequences, "The Matrix" strikes a balance that many science fiction films desire to achieve, but rarely do.
Thomas Anderson (Reeves) goes by a hacker alias Neo. When a group of deviant 'terrorists' contact him, his life goes from mundane to insane within minutes. Now he has team up with these renegades lead by the mysterious Morpheus (Fishburne) to avoid some sinister and super powerful 'agents' and follow a path of discovery that will answer the question "what is the matrix?" and challenge his entire viewpoint on what is real.
Initially, its hard to disengage from "The Matrix". Before knowing the 'secret' of the film, which is revealed after the first act, this film has a lot of very dark and stunning visual work that really builds this mysteriousness of the concept that pays off immensely for its philosophically based science fiction premise. The Wachowski brothers' brilliant writing and stunning visual eye for the film are the highlight of the film and it brings both the smart aspect of the film and the action packed portion together with a nice blend.
The weakest aspect of "The Matrix" is by far Keanu Reeves. Now, Mr. Reeves definitely can played lost and confused well (just look at the awesome "Bill and Ted" films) but he makes for somewhat of a tough protagonist here to sympathize with. Luckily, an outstanding supporting cast with notable performances from Fishburne, Moss, and an ever ripped-off villainous performance from Weaving help carry Reeves through his trudging performance. Mr. Neo is the only reason this film didn't get the coveted 5 out 5.
If you are looking for a revolutionary film that changed modern cinema, look no further than "The Matrix". It's highly stylized action sequences that brought new light to 'bullet time' pacing and combined John Woo style gun play with a science fiction twist is nothing to scoff. It's smart story that seamlessly blends philosophy, psychology, and and sociology into a fantasy type plot that both smart and dumb audience members can follow. This is what modern science fiction can rock like and it set new standards for how film making in the genre can work. "The Matrix" simply smokes much of its competition.
Written By Matt Reifschneider